Month: September 2018

We Drive the New Porsche Cayenne in South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne Driven Review

Porsche. It’s a  name that is synonymous with racing, hard-core stripped out road vehicles and daily drivers that many a stockbroker have or are in the process of ordering. It’s a name that carries heritage and a history in motorsport that many manufacturers would love to call their own. For any petrol head, it’s been a brand that most aspire to, but come 2003, Porsche decided to branch out and for good reason. They decided that the clients who already own their sports cars needed something that they could drive daily, with spouse and children in tow. They gave us the Porsche Cayenne.

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

Porsche Cayenne Side Shot

Yes, at first glance it wasn’t the most handsome sibling but for Porsche clients and anyone who could afford the price tag, it didn’t matter. The Porsche Cayenne was bought by the trendy, wealthy families in your estate. You know the family, the Khumalo’s and the Smiths. The family with the toned, gym focussed mother who can whip up a gourmet meal for her family. The tall and chiselled father who is not only the CEO of his international company but also coaches his daughter’s soccer team. Yes, those families. It’s because of them, that the Cayenne brand has gone from strength to strength and what we have now, in 2018 is the most one of the best looking SUVs in the market, and it’s the Cayenne.

The launch of the new Porsche Cayenne.

We all met up in rainy and very windy Cape Town for the launch of the new Cayenne. At first glance, and from a distance, you see the design team went in for a nip and tuck. In its third rendition, you would be hard pressed to see where improvements could be made as I thought the previous model was a particularly handsome vehicle – that is why I’m writing an article on the new Cayenne and not in Stuttgart, in a Porsche lab coat, submitting design drawings.

From the rear, with its Tron like LED spanning the entire boot length, along with the coupe-like roofline and front end that looks more like 911.2 that a regular SUV, I’m left with much want for this car. Inside you are greeted by a cabin that would be a technophobe’s nightmare. It’s all electric with buttons and switchgear for everything. It’s very much tuned for the iPad generation, something that I will not tire of.

Three engines are available from launch and we first sampled the “baby” Cayenne with its 3.0L V6 petrol motor producing 250kW and 450Nm. It’s crazy to think that some flagship vehicles churn out those kinds of numbers. Out into Capetonian traffic, something that the whole of South Africa could do without, we head out into the wine country. In front, we are led by the flagship Cayenne Turbo variant and I don’t know if it’s my Gauteng aggressiveness in my driving style, but the Turbo wasn’t able to show me up in the corners and sweeping mountain passes, however, he did show me what the rear of the car looked like on the straights.

Tech

The ride on the “entry level” Cayenne was plush, feedback from the front axle and steering was more than adequate and you find yourself pushing much harder than your skill set normally lets you, such is the confidence that the Cayenne gives you. What impressed me was the standard equipment that’s offered on the entry-level model and with a base of R1 142 000, it’s square in line with its counterparts from Germany and the United Kingdom.

New Porsche Cayenne South Africa

New Porsche Cayenne Interior South Africa

After reaching our coffee stop, I was now a passenger and could play with the digital driving display and all the settings that could be personalised. To say that I got lost in the varies menus is an understatement. I just love interiors that I can really make my own and in this vehicle, you can do just that. Very soon, I found myself driving what I would say is the pick of the bunch, the Cayenne S.

New Porsche Cayenne S

Powered by a 2.9 V6 Motor, punching out 324kW, 550Nm and a standing 0-100kph time of 4,9 seconds, you instantly fall in love with this variant. I was commending the normal Cayenne on its power delivery and the fact that you never really lacked for power,  this motor, however, gives you that little extra you didn’t know that you needed. Overtaking is done before you know it and if you find yourself alone, on a familiar stretch of road, the Cayenne S will stop its gallop at 265 kph, 20 kph more than its sibling. Standard options fitted to the Cayenne S are just too many to number, but the major reason for the S is the motor, and at this pricing range, you can justify the R154 000 price jump.

New Porsche Cayenne S South Africa

Porsche Cayenne S Driving

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Now for the “Maneer”, the General, the Turbo S. We live in an age where Turbo motors are the way to get around emissions issues, while bringing consumption figures and down to reasonable levels. Sadly, the engine note from the exhaust is normally then lost and sacrificed.  You see, turbos swallow up the naughty noise that would make even the sharpest accountant giggle like a five-year-old, but not in the case of the Turbo S. From startup, the mightly 4.0 V8 motor, producing 404kW and 770Nm lets you know that it means business and that you should strap in, tight!

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

I’ve always maintained that high-performance SUVs are not practical and offer performance that you don’t need as no sane parent would drive “that way” with their kids staring at them in the rear-view mirror. But and this is a big BUT, this is the second SUV that would make me go against my cardinal rule. To say that the Cayenne Turbo is fast is like saying that an NBA player is tall. It’s a fact known by all but there is so much depth to that statement that you would need to be in the vehicle, better yet, the driver’s seat to fully comprehend the thought that I’m trying to get across here.

New Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

Gone are the days of struggling to keep up with traffic on rural roads. The string of trucks that are blocking the traffic from flowing? Gone. That “special” mountain pass that you are trying to carve and get rid of small cars and delivery vans? Gone. The Turbo S delivers power in waves that would make any sane driver a favourite paying member of the JMPD, and it’s also done without your passengers being hurled from side to side. The Turbo S is so well sorted suspension-wise that you end up feeling that you are in Panamera, rather than an SUV in the clouds.

What would I buy?

So there you have it. The new Porsche Cayenne is a fantastic vehicle. The Khumalo’s and Smiths have already ordered theirs but what about the Nwamba’s?  I have driven a diesel SUV for the last couple of years and have become very fond of driving a tank to 700 km plus between fill-ups. Interestingly, the new Cayenne isn’t available in a diesel, and with petrol being a cleaner burning fuel, you can see the reason for this. Diesel is expected to be phased out in the next decade with emission standards being strict and Porsche has now jumped ahead of everyone with this decision.

New Porsche Cayenne S South Africa

Rear of Porsche Cayenne S

So the only vehicle that would be under my consideration would be my pick of the bunch – the Cayenne S. It’s in the same ballpark in terms of pricing with the Mercedes GLE 350 AMG, the BMW X5 30d M Sport and the Range Rover TdV6 SE and to play devil’s advocate, the Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI. You can see that these are vehicles that have been giving my wife and I a headache and the introduction of the new Cayenne to further complicated this decision, a decision that we’ve decided to park till next year when we will need to play ching Chong cha! If I were to make that decision now though, I would be writing this from the seat of a Cayenne S.

Learn More here: https://www.porsche.com/middle-east/_capetown_/models/cayenne/

BMW X4 20d & M40i Driven in South Africa

We Drive the new BMW X4.

With a low slung back, wide stance and unique design, Sports Activity Coupes can be one of those love or hate scenarios for many-including the BMW X4.  Think Marmite, Cardi B or Apple for example. BMW started this “new” segment with the original X4, selling over 200,000 units since 2014 and encouraging other manufacturers to follow suit.

BMW X4 Lights

What’s New?

The new BMW X4 has definitely become more eloquent, featuring a bold, aggressive front end and BMW’s new hexagonal running lights. The rear is also pretty impressive too, with new slimmer rear lights, and a sharp edged upper rear spoiler which sits just above the rear window.  From some angles, Sports Activity Coupes can look a little odd and while the X4 isn’t completely immune from this, BMW have done a pretty good job.

The BMW X4 is longer, wider and lower than its counterpart; the BMX X3. If you’re one for numbers, the wheelbase is 54mm longer, the body is 3mm lower and the rear track features an increase of 30mm. In simple terms, this makes it sportier.

BMW X4 20d

For our first test drive of the morning, we found ourselves in the scrumptious Flamenco Red Metallic X4 20d. The staple diesel model produces 140kW and 400N.m and comes in at R843,000. It’s buttery smooth, quiet and comfortable,  and while I do feel the 2.0 diesel could of had a tad more power, on the open road it was pleasant and easy to drive. One can expect pretty good fuel economy figures and great range with this variant.

BMW X4

I’ve always found BMW’s to have very solid interiors, they use good materials and feel sturdy, strong and luxurious. This is no different in the cockpit of the X4, featuring a driver-focused cockpit and new sport seats further play on the X4’s sportiness, while my favourite feature happened to be the thick but soft leather steering wheel.

Technology doesn’t go amiss either, you will find BMW’s latest iDrive system which is always a treat to use, complemented by the digital dashboard. BMW have taken a different approach to others here, instead of being able to display everything and everything, BMW’s system displays classic information such as speed, revs and fuel but in a crisp and clean manner. Small features such as highlighting the nearest RPM number while driving shows nice attention to detail. When bumped up into sport mode, dials turn red and emphasize speed, while dropping into Eco displays a cool blue interface aiding you in stretching out the km’s. I like BMW’s approach, its classy and we don’t always need to be bombarded with information.BMW X4 Interior

Following on with the sporty persona, M Sport suspension, the Performance Control function, and variable sport steering all come as standard. If you so wish M Sport brakes and Adaptive Suspension are option extras, although I personally feel this would be a waste on the entry-level diesel variant. In terms of model lines, Standard, M Sport and M Sport X are available, with varying wheel and trim options to suit individual taste.

BMW X4 M40i

With the X3 M40i evading me, I was keen to find out what the M40i range in an SUV was all about. Set eyes on the flagship M-Performance model and you will probably agree that it certainly looks the part. It also sounds the part, which becomes evidently clear on startup as the 3.0 6-cylinder roars into life. Whenever I drive vehicles like this, they go straight into their most “performancy“ mode, in the case of the BMW X4 that would be Sport Plus.

BMW X4 South Africa

Straight out of the gate, I could tell this was going to be an exciting vehicle. Let’s get one thing straight, the X4 M40i is fast for a car, nevermind an SUV.  What stood out to me was the experience as a whole. In Sport Plus, more engine sound is pumped into the cabin, it’s loud, and as the engine fires all the way to a 7000 rpm redline you just can’t help but smile. Step off the throttle and enjoy the pops and bangs that have become ever more present on vehicles nowadays. Gear changes are quick and punchy, throttle response is sharp and body roll is minimal due to the X4’s low centre of gravity, M Sport suspension and M Sport diff – it’s all pretty wonderful and I began to do the mechanics in my head of what an X4 M is really going to be like.

BMW X4 South Africa

The X4 M40i can also behave, yes, being an M-Performance model it’s never going to be as plush and comfy as the less performance orientated models, but hit comfort mode and the M40i quietens down, chills out and becomes much more like the X4 20d. A faint 6-cylinder purr can be heard in the background, and that isn’t a bad thing, it’s always nice to be reminded of what you have on tap and what you paid for.

NEW BMW X4

Other Engine Variants

BMW have sadly scrapped the X30i and X30d due to lack of demand, which means you have the option of the 20i, 20d or M40i.  For some, the removal of the X30d maybe sad, as a nicely powered diesel is always a great option. Need not to worry though, as January 2019 will bring the M40d to South Africa. Producing 240 kW and a lovely 680 N.m of torque, the M40d will hit 100km/h in under 5 seconds – this engine will surely be a treat!

X3 or X4?

This is a big question that’s relatively easy to answer and It all depends on your requirements. Both models offer the same tech, very similar interiors and the same engines. The X3 offers slightly more space in the rear, including headspace and a bigger boot – and this may be of big value to you. Whereas the BMW X4 offers a sportier package and dynamics, while still not being shy of space – plenty for a family. You may just prefer the look of X3 and are not quite sold on Sport Activity Coupe’s just yet, and that’s also cool. At the end of the day, go for the one that suits you best, as you won’t be missing out no matter your choice.

BMW X4

BMW X4 Pricing in South Africa

BMW X4 xDrive 20i & 20d

Standard – R843,000

M Sport & M Sport X – R887,900

BMW X4 M40i – R1,132,800

 

Learn More Here: https://www.bmw.co.za/en/all-models/x-series/X4/2018/x4.html

 

A True Hot Hatch – Hyundai i30 N

We Drive the Hyundai i30 N

Rewind your mind to a little over a year ago. If someone told you that Hyundai are planning to release a hot hatch, but not just any hot hatch, a hot hatch that would bring the fight to every one of the great hatches we know and love, would you have believed them? Probably not. Welcome the Hyundai i30 N.

Hyundai i30 N South Africa

Hyundai i30 N on a abend

You see, performance hatches and Hyundai have never really belonged in the same sentence together, it’s kind of like Ben and Jerrys offering a zero-sugar ice-cream, one would think it’s going to be a bit “pap”.

However, Hyundai have been clever and found themselves a person who knows the in’s and out’s of this performancy kind of stuff. His name is Albert Biermann and he once headed up the BMW M Performance division. This is quite a statement from Hyundai, so how does the i3o N fair?

It Means Business

Glare at the Hyundai i30 N and you will get a deathly stare back, it looks mean from every angle. Sitting low, the artic blue paint reminds me that this colour has been discontinued, which means we needed to stay far away from bushes, curbs and anything untoward that could cause damage. My favourite angle? The rear. Its small wing and diffuser complement the wide stance, dual tailpipes and bright rear lights nicely. Hyundai are not playing around.

Hyundai i30 N South Africa

Rear light of the Hyundai i30 N

For those who don’t know, you may think it’s all show and no go, however, if you are even just so slightly interested in cars you will know that this is not the case.  285bhp (202kW)  and 400Nm on tap means theHyundai i30 N already shows the Golf GTI it’s mother on paper, but what about on the road?

What is it like to drive?

For me, a great hot hatch is one that makes you smile. After all, they are built to be fun right? A mixture of performance, response, chassis and sound are all major components they make up the perfect hatch. Quite frankly, the Hyundai i30 N delivers in all departments.

The wave of boost that hits in the lower RPM range Is addictive. I love the surge of power and boost that kicks in and doesn’t ever seem to fade out. Coupled with the heavy clutch and clunky, solid gearbox, the feeling can only be described as real. No other hot hatch sounds like this, the crackle and pops produced literally makes people walking on the side of the road to stop, turn around and put their hands in the air – sorry love, this is straight from the manufacturer.

Hyundai i30 N South Africa

Hyundai i30 N on a racetrack

The i30N also lives up to its nickname“Corner Rascal” . I was going to say the front end is to die for, but that’s probably an overstatement. It is wonderfully sharp and grippy and when partnered with the balanced chassis and limited slip diff, you’d have to be doing something wild to find understeer.  Hyundai didn’t lie when they told us this car is measured in BPM and not RPM – it really does get the blood pumping. Did I mention the noise?

A choice of 5 driving modes are available, you know, the usual Eco, Comfort, Sport that seem to come on most new vehicles nowadays, but, If you want to get straight to the main action then a simple press of the blue N button on the steering wheel will do the trick – I wonder what this is similar too, it’s at the back of my mind and I just can’t remember…

Steering Wheel of the Hyundai i30 N South Africa

Steering Wheel of the Hyundai i30 N

I digress,  The N will activate everything and anything that brings out the dark side of the Hyundai i30 N’s personality. Hit it again, and the system activates your custom N settings which are programmed through the main interface.  You will probably use this if you’re fussy like Richard, as he likes everything in sport apart from steering feel which MUST stay in comfort – lame.

Technology in the i30 N

I was quite taken aback when I found technology such as wireless charging, autonomous emergency braking, collision warning and a lane keep assist technology which works much more like semi-autonomous driving.  Rev matching is also a treat, making downshifts much more pleasant as well as sounding fantastic. If you’ve been driving long enough though, you can turn this off from the steering wheel and work your magic with the old heel and toe situation. Of course, Apple Carplay and Android Auto are also thrown into the mix to end of a great bunch of tech.

Hyundai i30 N Interior South Africa

Hyundai i30 N Interior

Does it lack anything?

Dampers. It lacks dampers. Yes, the ride is particularly firm but in all seriousness, it doesn’t really lack anything. You have everything you need and more in terms of tech and performance. If you are going to compare this against a Golf or other German hatchbacks, then it won’t give you the same premium feel and trims. It’s more plastically, and obviously not as comfortable. If your looking for a fast hatch which isn’t going to break your back then this probably isn’t the hatch for you. It’s not going to be great if you undertake a long commute on a daily basis either, but if you are looking for true hot hatch experience then you won’t go wrong with the Hyundai i30 N.

Hyundai i30 N South Africa

Sam Ayres with the Hyundai i30 N

How does it compare to other hatches?

I’ve not driven every hot hatch ever made, and there are a few new models that I still need to get behind the wheel of, such as the Megane R.S. However, from what I have driven, it definitely provides one of the rawest, fun and visceral driving experiences. I have spent many hours and corners behind the wheel of a GTI Clubsport, they both feature very positive front ends and similar driving traits, however, the Clubsport is DSG – which leads me onto think that a Clubsport S with a manual box, reduction in weight and increase in more power might just result in a driving experience that pips the i30N.  Either way,  I’m just going to have to wait to find out.

Learn More: https://www.hyundai.co.uk/new-cars/i30n

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class – Setting New Standards

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class in Matt Grey, Overlooking Ocean and town

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Some car models evolve like a fine wine; slowly over time, each incarnation just a little better than the last. Not at Mercedes-Benz though, if other technologies progressed as fast as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, we’d be living around in a rather futuristic world. Twenty-one years ago, just after the first A-Class was launched, it made motoring headlines for failing the Moose Test, but that was actually a blessing in disguise rather than a setback. This problem forced the men in white coats to re-engineer the suspension as well as to add electronic driver aids never before seen in a compact car, forcing other manufacturers to follow suit. This was the start of a brilliant track record, amassing sales of three million A-Class cars (6 million compact cars in total) to date, each new model featuring improvements and upgrades that you’d only expect to find in top tier models.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is now in its fourth generation, and it’s no facelift, this technological marvel is an all-new affair from the ground up. The compact Benz is longer, higher and wider resulting in a sportier looking hatchback, especially when fitted with the optional 19-inch wheels. The front-end subscribes to the latest Mercedes-Benz design architecture and this new design also sees the car being the most aerodynamic in the segment. Much of this is attributed to the front and rear wheel spoilers that result in low airflow losses, in addition, wheel arches are insulated from the engine compartment and the radiator surrounds are sealed. The design of the A-pillars and the new wing mirrors also has an effect on drag, but most noticeably on wind noise. This all-new A-Class is easily the quietest hatch I’ve driven to date.

Cabin space is improved thanks to the new dimensions; so taller drivers have more comfort with better elbow and shoulder room. The boot receives a 29-litre increase in capacity, now totalling 370 litres and the taillights are now sectioned in two, meaning a 20cm wider load aperture giving your favourite set of Callaway clubs a perfect entry. Besides space, the interior of the all-new A-Class is a very premium place indeed. The retail price of these cars (which we’ll get to later) does seem high, but when you see the fit and finish of the materials and the amount of technology crammed in, things become a lot more palatable.

MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – is an intelligent multimedia system that adapts to your inputs and voice commands which is not only great to keep you company on long roads, it also keeps your eye focused ahead to keep you safe. All manner of things can be done via the voice control, such as turning vehicle systems on and off or finding you a better route through traffic.  To access this function, simply blurt out “Hey Mercedes” at any point and she’ll answer you back – sound familiar?  It’s also easy to use, however when you want your fingers to do the talking, the touch controls for all the systems are easy and intuitive, once you learn what does what of course.

Powering the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class are two new power plants; for the A200 there’s a turbocharged 1332cc 4-cylinder with 120kW and 250Nm on tap. The A250 Sport features 1991cc, also a turbocharged 4-cylinder, and produces 165kW and 350Nm available. Both engines are mated to a sublime, smooth and lightning-quick 7-speed dual clutch transmission (7G-DCT). A variety of drive modes are available, including Comfort, Eco and Sport, the latter being very responsive and firm. We were only able to sample the A200 on launch, and the responsiveness and available power from such a small capacity motor boggles the mind. It’s claimed to reach 100km/h in 8-seconds with a top speed at 225km/h, but it feels faster. Combined fuel consumption is claimed at 5.2l/100km which I’m sure it can manage, just not on launch. In this initial launch drive the A200 was put through its paces and it must be said that there’s not really any way to fault the car. With the technology on board, the new A-Class sets new standards, once again forcing others to follow. The automaker wants to target a younger, more tech-savvy buyer, and offerings don’t get much better than this. A diesel variant and the halo AMG version will come in time.

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class Pricing in South Africa

Pricing for the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class sees the A200 comes in at R499 000 and the A250 lists at R593 300.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio – fast, fun but expensive.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

Alfa Romeo Stelvio Driven Review

If you are familiar with the team here at TheMotorist, you will know it consists of myself, Francisco and Richard. While the latter two happen to be brothers, Francisco and myself are born within a month of each other. Unfortunately for Richard, he has passed the “fun part” of his life already. What I mean by that is, he’s older than us and he has entered a stage of life that consists of nappies and mortgages. More often than not on some of our recent video projects, a good man who goes by the name of Andrew joins us. Andrew is the editor of Top Gear Magazine SA and happens to be the same age as Richard. Together, they share notes on child rearing and finding the best family doctor.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

So I feel it’s no coincidence then that the younger two of the group fell head over heels for the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, while the older bunch really didn’t fancy it that much. Maybe bigger issues in life have made them lose their sense of fun? Who knows. I’m not insinuating that the older you get, the more boring you become, I would never do that…never ever…

However, it seems that maybe the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is the SUV for the younger person even though you need older person money to afford it. It’s a catch 22 really. The Stelvio throws things at you, that you don’t expect – hot hatch driving dynamics being one of them. It’s quite surprising to be fooled into thinking you’re driving a Golf GTI, when you’re actually in a midsize SUV. Another thrilling factor about the Stelvio, is the fact that it’s rather quick. Put your foot down and you notice the digital speedometer climb rather quickly, much faster than expected – especially since it’s powered by a 2.0l turbocharged engine. Turn a corner and notice the front end turn in quite sharply. Again, more than expected. In the end, you find yourself becoming quite giddy in this vehicle, like when your parents would step out the house for some milk and you could be naughtier than usual. That’s what happens when you’re in a 206kW/400N.m Italian SUV with some heritage behind the brand.

You see, while many ( Richard and Andrew ) see SUV’s as only needing to be large vehicles with lots of space for your children, your friend’s children and the expensive bike you use once in a blue moon – the Stelvio offers more. Yes, it ticks the boxes when it comes to safety, it has a quality interior and offers modern technology. Above that, it’s also quite fast which makes it quite exciting – something other vehicles in the Alfa Romeo Stelvios league don’t offer. They may even be better than the Stelvio in other ways, but the Alfa brings with it a fun personality.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio

The performance SUV segment is one that often causes debate. Some lament that they “don’t need to be SO sharp, or be THAT fast”, but the question is why not? Why can’t certain SUV’s offer both the practicality and space, whilst also being a little invigorating too? In the age of extensive choice, there’s a place for an SUV such as the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. It’s not a full-blown eye-watering performance SUV (the QV variant will fill the gap). What it is however, is a good middle ground option.  

The thing is, the Stelvio will set you back R834 000, which is not exactly cheap. If you do some scratching around, you’re bound to find more value for money products. That being said, buying into the Alfa brand is never a purchase based on practicality, but rather one based on emotion. So, if you’re an Alfa lover, this SUV is for you because it does evoke emotion and kudos to them for staying true to their brand ethos. For me, the Stelvio is a great SUV. It looks the part, feels the part and drives the part too. As a future young dad, I’d appreciate a good thrill once in a while, when the princes and princesses are tucked away in bed of course. Now it’s just a matter of convincing Richard and Andrew.